BEVERLY HILLS — The Beverly Hills City Council voted to allow expedited work on the Metro Purple Line to continue through June 15. With a 4-1 vote, Wilshire Boulevard will remain closed until the stipulated date, according to a press release issued on Thursday, May 28.
On March 31, the city council approved the closure of Wilshire Boulevard in order for expedited work on the Purple Line to start. In light of the current health crisis, which reduced the amount of traffic and forced business to close temporarily, work on the area could be completed faster. If concluded by June 15, the construction’s impact on the city’s economic recovery would be lessened.
Since the closure, the construction has already seen expedited for work to be completed. Piling activities, which began on April 2, were completed on May 9 — a total of three months ahead of schedule, explained the city’s Engineering Manager Robert Welch.
Currently at 60 percent completion, decking work would also be completed months in advance if the city approved maintaining full closure of Wilshire Boulevard.
The council considered two options in the meeting: to immediately issue a five-day notice to Metro to suspend the decking work and focus on re-establishing traveling lanes on Wilshire Boulevard; or allow the decking work to continue until full completion on June 15.
Members of the city council expressed different views. Some recognized that maintaining the closure would help the city economically in the long run, but members also pointed to the fact that business are hurting is due to the pandemic.
“The choice here is not between no impact on our suffering businesses and impact on our suffering businesses,” said City Vice Mayor Robert Wunderlich. “The choice is which one has less impact.”
As public health guidelines begin to allow business to reopen, business owners and residents sent messages to the council ahead of time. Both sides of the argument were voiced in the messages.
One business owner pointed out that “access to the shopping destinations and parking structures remain severely hindered by this construction.” Another, highlighting the reduction in traffic volume, said “Let’s speed up the process and get it out of the way so it will not impede our city’s recovery.”
Metro CEO Michael McKenna, present in the meeting, guaranteed that the June 15 deadline would be met.